The island of Ko Lanta has been my home for over eight days now. One reason we picked it is because it isn’t a mad party island like Phuket and it is famous for having a lot of yoga resorts. I took a class at the SriLanta Resort and only wish I had the time and money to stay for one of their week long packages. The package includes two yoga classes on the beach everyday as well as daily massages. The instructor was wonderful. She spoke English to me and German to my one and only classmate. She was very pleased by our level and led us through an advanced series of postures. We ended the class with handstands and meditation in the sand. What a perfect way to start your day!
Unfortunately, we have been plagued a bit by rain. The day we rented scooters to drive around the island and visit Old Town proved to be an absolute tropical storm. The weather prevented us from meeting up with Alicia and Cristina (the cool Californians I met scuba diving), but didn’t keep me from having dinner with the lovely Irish Kat. I met Kat the first day diving and immediately clicked with her. One of the best parts of travel is meeting new people, especially those select few you know you would be close to if only you would be in the same place long enough. Well, Kat is one of those people. She is traveling roughly the same path as me and I have a sneaky suspicion you will be hearing a lot about her in the future.
Other than meeting great people, scuba diving, yoga and beach time the main activity we participated in was the Four Island Boat Tour. We piled into a long boat and set out for snorkeling. After scuba diving snorkeling is pretty lame. It especially rubbed us the wrong way because the crew kept feeding the fish. During our scuba certification Maarten was very adamant that feeding any fish, sharks, etc. is a bad practice. It teaches the animals to associate humans with food and often this mentality is what leads to attacks.
I was incredibly surprised when the tour took us to the famous Emerald Cave. I had seen a show on the travel channel showing people exploring it. I didn’t even realize we were staying so close to it! We all jumped into the water and swam into the cave. At that point I was just expecting to swim into a grotto and to sway into other tourists while being unimpressed. Contrary to my expectations we swam for 80 meters into a long dark corridor. The group’s strokes made the water lap against the walls. Other than that there was no current. The cave was filled with the slightly nervous jokes of our fellow travelers and an occasional sibling prank. Near the end of the cave sunlight shone through and the water emanated a bright green. We swam out of the cave and into a stunning lagoon. I couldn’t believe it! The lagoon is at the bottom of a sheer rock shaft. The walls all the way up are covered in vegetation and are home to some curious monkeys. Just out of the water is a sign explaining that this was a hiding place for pirates’ treasure at one time and before that a great place for the locals to find swallow eggs.
Besides the sights the trip was enriched by the people we met. There was a very friendly family on board from Washington. Their daughter reminded me a lot of my younger self. She was very talkative and animated and very fun to chat with. There were several nice couples as well. One couple was surprised to discover that Tim is Dutch. The woman is Dutch and her boyfriend is French. They assumed Tim was American due to his accent and him being with us. It was a great day with very nice people.